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Blue Dog Coalition

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


BLUE DOG COALITION
House of Representatives
March 28, 2006

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

It is the lack of accountability that people are fed up with, Mr. Speaker. This is a symbol of what is wrong with this administration, what is wrong with this Republican Congress and what is wrong with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

At this time, I am pleased to yield to the gentleman from Georgia, a real leader within the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, Mr. Scott.

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Thank you very much, Mr. Ross. And, as always, it is indeed a pleasure to be with you on these special orders.

I want to agree with our distinguished majority whip, who has distinguished himself in his years of leadership here, who has been fighting this fight for so long. And our whip pointed out an important point that is registering with the American people, and that is this: There is great concern all across the breadth and the depth of this country concerning the degree of foreign ownership of our country.

Mr. Ross, we have time and time again been on this floor pointing out the danger of foreign investment that we are overwhelmingly dependent upon. We are not critical of being an open, free society in which we are open for investors from all around the world to come and participate in our great economy. We are certainly not against the trade policies that involve all of the globalization. That is very important. We are very much involved and in support of opening up free markets so that our goods and our products are being traded.

But, Mr. Ross, it is a dangerous, dangerous situation when we are overwhelmingly now dependent for our wherewithal on foreign interests. The fact that now that foreign investors control and own over 52 percent of our debt is not a healthy position for us to be in, for the mere fact that right now we are borrowing at a rate, that we are spending more just on interest to these countries than what we are spending on our own homeland security, our veterans, and our education, combined.

Here is the question: What will happen if this dries up? What will happen, let us say, in our negotiations and our dealings with China, from whom we are borrowing and who holds $250 billion in our debt? Or with Japan, that controls over $658 billion of our debt? Or with Taiwan, who controls over $117 billion? Or Hong Kong at $80 billion? Or the OPEC and the Middle Eastern countries, who control, combined, over $75 billion of our debt?

The issue here is that these are countries in which we have severe differences with who can use this at an inappropriate moment of strategic blackmail in so many financial areas and national security areas. Speaking of which, we cannot have any national security if we do not have financial security.

Mr. Ross, I am glad you mentioned your trailers. I had a town hall meeting back home in one of my communities called Riverdale in Clayton County, and my Uncle Eugene said, You know, I was watching you all on television. I want you to ask your partner there, Mr. Ross, have they moved those trailers yet?

Mr. ROSS. Three hundred of them.

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Three hundred of them are moved. But they have still got so many there.

Mr. ROSS. Ten thousand four hundred and seventy-seven remain in this hay meadow at the Hope Airport while people continue to live in hotels, camper trailers, and military-style tents. It is horrible.

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. We are in a very, very delicate situation financially and a very insecure position financially, particularly as the world is looking at us.

But the most important point that I want to make, as I turn it back over to one of my other colleagues, is this. In my office today I had a visit from a group of my constituents who run a program called TRIO.

TRIO is the overlaying umbrella of a series of upward-bound programs that help young people who need a helping hand to get them into college. And that program is being axed by the President. I just left this morning, a group of us in a CODEL, with Congressman JERRY MORAN, who is a good friend who is on the Republican side, but is a good subcommittee chairman of our commodities group.

We had a hearing on the farm bill. And the two most important issues that they were saying is, please, Congressman, do not let the Bush administration cut our farm programs, our conservation programs. We had another visit from another group of folks who were senior citizens: do not let them cut our Medicare and our Medicaid programs. From the veterans themselves: please do not let them cut any more of our programs.

So when we look abroad at the foreign situation and we look here at home, we see pressing concerns and threats to our financial security that is at the hands of this administration and its very, very unresponsive, irresponsible and reckless financial policies.

And I am just proud to be here with the Blue Dogs this evening to point those issues out and make sure that the American people are aware of the great, great issues that we are faced with.

Mr. ROSS. I thank the gentleman from Georgia who raises an excellent point, that is, how the United States is becoming increasingly dependent on foreign lenders, foreign central banks, foreign investors. In fact, foreign lenders currently hold a total of well over $2 trillion of our public debt.

Compare that to only $23 billion in foreign holdings back in 1993. And who are these countries that we are borrowing billions of dollars from? Japan, $682.8 billion. China, $249.8 billion.

As my friend from Tennessee, one of the founders of the Blue Dog Coalition, Mr. Tanner, has said before, if China decides to invade Taiwan, we will have to borrow even more money from China in order to defend Taiwan.

This does directly impact not only our national security, but our monetary policy because they can call these loans.

United Kingdom, $223.2 billion. Caribbean Banking Centers, I had never heard of such, $115.3 billion. Taiwan, $71.3 billion. OPEC, $67.8 billion they have loaned us to fund our government, to fund tax cuts for those earning over $400,000 a year, and we wonder why we have got $2.50 gasoline.

Korea, $66.5 billion. Germany, $65.7 billion. Canada, $53.8 billion. And Hong-Kong rounds out the top 10 lenders in loaning money to the United States of America at $46.5 billion.

I yield to the gentleman from Georgia.

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Just to add to that point, just to add to that, in addition to all of what you just said, when you add the fact that this country is borrowing $2 billion every day from foreign governments, just to finance our trade deficits, we have just been talking about the budget deficits.

But when you turn and you add our trade deficits to that, and Mr. Ross, again, a point that came out of my agriculture hearing just today in Valdosta, Georgia, was the point that now for the first time, just 10 years ago, the United States, on our agriculture we controlled or held 17 percent of all of the world's exports on agriculture products.

Now, do you know that that is down to less than 10 percent? And the fact of the matter is, we are now exporting more of our foodstuffs into this country than we are exporting out. This is not good for our national security, for this country, not only depending upon our finances from abroad; but, good Lord, if we get to the point where we are depending on our food from abroad, we are in serious trouble.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. Speaker, the minute we have left I yield to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Scott).

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. I just want to say, because we are going to get ready for our Republican friends, some of them, to come and try to refute what we are saying, but as the good book, the Bible, says, ``Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.''

We have done that tonight. And even Mr. Armey, the Republican's former leader of this House, complained bitterly about the Republican leadership and the direction they were going when he said, ``They are in control. They control this town,'' he said.

There is no reason for us to have these deficits. They cannot refute the fact that under this Republican administration, under this Republican-led Congress they have borrowed more money, they have run up this debt, they have borrowed more money from foreign governments than all of the last 42 Presidents and administrations combined. They cannot argue that point.

They put forward a budget that slams right into the face of homeland and national security by cutting our veterans, by refusing to deal with the concurrent receipts measure, by cutting aid to veterans by a million dollars, and education up and down the line.

So the truth is speaking tonight, Mr. Ross, and it has been indeed a pleasure for us to be here to tell the truth and set America free.

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